by Geoff Fox
The basement area of Town Hall is home to the Hancock Museum and there have been a number of issues regarding water in the basement.
Members of the Hancock Historical Society have approached Town Manager Mike Faith regarding the issue, with President Dan Murphy coming before town officials multiple times during town meetings.
There has been talk about excavating or adding a porch over the entrance to the museum.
Faith said the problem in front of Town Hall and the museum is too small and can’t take the deluge of water.
He added the drain has been snaked and no problems were found, but it’s his opinion was it’s just too small.
“We just need to make a decision on what we’re going to do here as far as protecting the museum downstairs,” Faith said.
He said it’s up to town officials whether it’s a porch or excavation, but he did say the porch would be fine.
“Let’s just put it out to bid and get bids,” he said. “Get qualified contractors to do the work and let them handle the permits and everything.”
Councilman David Kerns said the town had changed gears on a prior attempt to upgrade the area because it wasn’t clear what they’d be doing.
Right now, Kerns said, it would take a month to get permits.
Faith added both excavation and the porch could be done.
There had been an issue with water getting in the basement when the sump pump wasn’t working, but once it was fixed and on, the basement dried up.
A recent fix to the west end of Town Hall corrected one problem and no rainwater got into the basement, nor did any from the front.
Faith did admit water went down the ramp toward the door, but there were sand barriers in front of the door making sure nothing got through the door.
Murphy, who was in attendance, said there was an open space that needs closed up as that was where the water had been getting into the basement.
That area used to be the entrance to the cafeteria and a fire escape when Town Hall was the elementary school.
There might be structural integrity in that area, he added.
Murphy also pointed out there are issues on the alley between Town Hall and Tri-State Medical where there was a cave in that has allowed water to get in as well.
“One of things I’m concerned, you never know when those sump pumps are going to fail in the old furnace room down there,” Murphy said noting it’s right under the town offices.
Officials didn’t make a decision on doing anything except to have an expert come in and take a look at what might need to be done.